Keeping Autistic Seniors Mentally and Socially Engaged

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Providing Cognitive and Social Stimulation for Autistic Seniors

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on April 4, 2016

In today’s aging population, many older adults are living with autism, and they are at higher risk for cognitive decline and social withdrawal that can affect their wellbeing. If you are providing Scottsdale home care for an aging loved one with autism, it’s important to understand the challenges he or she faces and offer stimulation to help him or her remain mentally and emotionally healthy.

Maintain a Calm Environment

Excessive noise and too much stimulation can agitate seniors with autism and make it harder for them to focus on activities. Try to limit your loved one’s sensory experiences to one thing at a time. For example, if your loved one enjoys playing a memory game on the computer, turn off other electronics in the room so he or she can focus on the task at hand.

Keep a Consistent Routine

Too many changes can generate confusion and aggression for seniors with autism. For this reason, it is important to include cognitive and social activities in your loved one’s daily schedule so they occur at the same time each day. When doing so, try to arrange for these activities during the times of day your loved one tends to be most focused.

Pay Attention to Your Loved One’s Interests

Long before seniors with autism have reached their golden years, they have developed their personal interests and ways of interacting with others. As a caregiver, you can use your loved one’s hobbies to provide cognitive stimulation. For example, if your loved one is fascinated with science, he or she may enjoy gardening or reading research news.

Make Socialization Comfortable

Social situations can be uncomfortable for seniors with autism, but it is important to ensure your loved one does not become isolated. Seniors with autism often thrive when receiving care from regular, familiar caregivers. It is also important for Scottsdale caregivers to understand how to communicate effectively because your loved one may not comprehend the subtle nuances of conversation such as sarcasm. This way, your loved one will be comfortable with his or her care and more likely to engage in socially stimulating activities.

Caring for a senior with autism can be a challenge, but you don’t have to face it alone. If you need additional support, turn to Home Care Assistance. We offer part-time and live-in care and specialized Parkinson’s, stroke, and dementia care Scottsdale families can rely on. For more information and to schedule a free in-home consultation, please call one of our experienced Care Managers today at 480.448.6215